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“Isn’t Earth Too Small A Place To Fit 7 Billion”: A Take On Population Explosion

Posted on May 3, 2012 in Specials

By Anannya Roy Chowdhury:

The population boom! Like many other jazzy English words, this term too seems to be a work of fiction that is devised by analysts to paint a rather confusing picture of what is actually happening. The book by the same name, authored by Paul Ehrlich and Robert Pringle has off lately been the talk of the town for more than one reason. Not just the book, the entire world is discussing what they call the big BOOM in population expansion and studies revealed appalling realities that is enough to put the human existence into shackles. By the end of this century, the world population is expected to rise to a whopping 10 billion from the current 6.9 billion!

With such horrifying figures put to light, the burning topic of the hour is that, “what if it does not stop?” Since, the percentage of land on the planet is not likely to go up and neither are any chances of we shifting bases to Mars probable in the near future, this is indeed a million dollar question.

Most of us reading this would have one thing in mind, “well, there is enough that we have read and written about the daunting population explosion… so what?” In fact, with most of us this area is something that we cannot really work on because the remedies are scarce and whatever is available, the credibility of it is quite uncertain. Forget alone the entire globe, back home in India all of us face the perils of this rising number of people almost every minute that we are out of our homes (although some of us do face it even inside it) but then there is not much that we do other than sit and crib about it.

It would be wrong on my part to put the blame completely on our ignorance without bringing out some of the stark realities that not many of us know. As I unfold some key points of this long drawn research that has been and is continuing to be in this area, a lot of our questions regarding what could be our role as today’s youth be in curbing this disaster would be answered.

The population explosion; paramount causes: Before we set out to know this issue in a deeper sense, it is essential that the main causes of this excessive rise in the number of individuals be studied better. Although in the vague sense, population rise is taken the cause for other issues than the result of, which for that matter is also correct, it certainly cannot be denied that mere sex between partners can stir such huge figures. So, this brings us to the probable causes that might be the trigger boost for, number one–unprotected mating and number two–over utilization of resources.

  1. Illiteracy: First thing first, it is univocally supported that lack of education and awareness about controlled mating and optimum utilization of available resources is the main cause today. If we see world statistics, it becomes crystal clear that the rate is higher in nations or demographic areas that are more illiterate. India for that matter is no exception and is estimated that in the years to come, the population is going to surpass China’s leading figures! (Hell, imagine the conditions of the metros then!)
  2. Medical advancements: This is a rather slippery terrain because the line separating the good and the bad here is very faint, almost overlapping. With advancements in child birth techniques, increased longevity, there is no doubt that life on Earth is bliss today (for how long…now that is the million dollar question!)
  3. Social taboos related to sex education: This is a factor that concerns us the most because in the wake of the current social set up, we can and must change it. It is no hush-hush that the Indian society prohibits any such Sex-Ed and as a result almost 80% of the sexually active groups of individuals are unaware of the right facts. Pornographic literature or wrongly mounded discourses about sex only add to the problem. This needs to change, and change A.S.A.P!

The population explosion; various aspects of it:

Although my effort to bring out the causes of it is just a bare minimum, I feel the most important aspects are discussed. A shift to the broader outlook of the population expansion, that is, the different areas that it manhandles is now the next step!

  1. Environmental pollution: It requires no special description as all the four forms of pollution; namely, air, water, sound, land and socio-cultural pollution are the direct revelation of the increased human insurgency. Had there been a balance between the dwellers and the abode, the air wouldn’t be heavy with SPMs, the water would be fit to drink, land would be unsullied and corruption would be gone!
  2. Species extinction: With more people replacing the other members of the planet, there is no doubt about the fact that the time is not far when humans would be the sole survivors, although that is purely utopian as without interaction between the other animals, plants and physical elements, life is a mere WORD. In this regard, Ehrlich commented, “This extinction–the sixth in the 4-billion-year history of the Earth–”could be much more catastrophic than previous ones,”
  3. Severe resource depletion: Another direct effect is seen on the availability of the natural resources and with current consumption rates, fossil fuels would be ancient scripture in no time!
  4. Anthropogenic weather alterations: March feels like it is Mid-May and winters are not that cold…all of us have faced this in the practical sense and hence, know how devastating the effects of these drastic weather changes are.

To sum it up, you name it and we have it! There is a simple link between all these above-mentioned issues and dozens of others that lie beyond the scope of this article, and population explosion. The latter is the plaintive cause of the former!

Contraception; the ray of hope:

As already mentioned, to reduce population, it is not very easy because radical measures cannot be simply taken. Of course, we cannot think of killing people to reduce the load from the earth! As they say, Prevention is better can cure, why think of killing when the birth can be stopped? With the simple use of a condom or any other contraception technique, this huge problem can be tackled smartly. Eating pills or wearing rubber alone will not change anything and a simultaneous change in our perception is inevitable.

We must always remember that it was their huge numbers that drove our fore-cousins, the Neanderthals to extinction and history as we know, can always repeat itself! BE AWARE, BE HAPPY!